What’s the most annoying overused phrase in Britain at the moment?
I can think of a few candidates that chill the soul, suck the joy out of my life, and irk the very fibre of my innards.
Here are my top three:
- ‘To be honest with you…’ said by all politicians right before they tell us another disingenuous fork-tongued whopper.
- ‘That brilliant Arsenal goal is now being checked by VAR…’ delivered in weary monotone commentator voice, and then inevitably followed by ‘….and unfortunately, a solitary protruding hair on Bukayo Saka’s right ear lobe was in front of the last defender before he smashed that 30-yard worldie into the top corner, so it won’t count.’
- ‘I thought it went without saying…’ uttered by ignorant virtue-signalling twerps like Greta Thunberg when they fail to condemn horrific terror attacks on Jewish people because they’re so keen to burnish their pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli credentials.
But my comfortable winner is this: ‘…. (fill in name of convicted criminal) … was spared jail today.’
Especially when we all know the one thing said convicted criminal should not have been spared is jail.
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A prime example happened on Tuesday when the three Just Stop Oil louts who invaded the hallowed Lord’s turf during the Ashes were all ‘spared jail’ for their dumb eco stunt.
They’d sprayed orange powder across the outfield, and one of them tried to do it to the actual Test match pitch but was stopped by England’s heroic wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow who tackled the miscreant and carried him away.
I was at Lord’s that day, and joined in the loud boos and jeers that greeted the appalling act of vandalism, and cheers when Bairstow dumped his captive back over the boundary board. But it could have been a lot worse.
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Had they managed to damage the wicket, as they intended to do, it could have ruined the entire Test match – in 1975, another Ashes game was abandoned when ironically, protesters demanding an armed robber be freed from jail poured oil onto the pitch at Headingley – and in the process wrecked a major sporting event, and cost millions in lost revenue.
SMIRKING AND SMUG
You might think that people who deliberately plan and carry out this kind of wanton public vandalism would be held to proper account and taught a lesson that would deter them from doing it again.
But you would be wrong.
The smirking trio, 69-year-old grandmother Judit Murray, Jacob Bourne, 27, and 21-year-old Oxford University student Daniel Knorr rocked up at court like they were attending an awards ceremony.
And, it turned out, with good reason for their jubilant smuggery.
‘I’m feeling quite good,’ said beaming Daniel before he was sentenced.
‘I did the right thing… and this is not going to stop us. I’m going to go back, and there’s going to be many more people like me. The courts have so much power and so much responsibility, and it’s really time for them to step up and pick a side.’
Yes, they do, and yes it is.
But what side did the courts pick as they assessed a fitting punishment for the crime of aggravated trespass?
The City of London Magistrates’ Court had the power to send the self-glorifying vandals to prison for up to three months, the kind of short, sharp shock that might have persuaded them to just stop their stupid attention-seeking oil protests.
Instead, they were let off with 60 hours of unpaid community service and banned from Lord’s for a year.
So, they can do a week of cleaning bins and be back to vandalise the Home of Cricket all over again in the summer of 2025.
Before freeing them, District Judge Neeta Minhas said: "Whilst you may not have intended harm and you say you coordinated action to minimise any harm, and I accept there was no harm in terms of damage to the pitch or from yourselves towards security officers or players, it’s such a public location where there were so many people who are very much enjoying the activity, who may have been drinking, your action will have an unknown effect on those in the stands."
To use cricket vernacular, what a deluded load of old balls. Of course, they intended harm!
And if Jonny Bairstow hadn’t made one of his best catches of the entire Ashes series, they’d have succeeded.
Judit Murray’s lawyer told the court she was ‘remorseful.’
I could have sworn I saw her with her fellow vandals celebrating wildly on the steps of the court afterwards and posing for the media like criminal Cheshire cats who’d got the easy sentence cream.
SOFT TOUCH BULLSH*T
It made my blood boil to see these gurning goons make such a brazen mockery of our justice system which inexplicably chose to be so lenient.
And the result of this soft touch bullsh*t could be seen within 24 hours as more Just Stop Oil protestors were back out on Tuesday morning, spraying paint over the famous Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.
This towering edifice commemorates the Duke of Wellington’s magnificent triumph over Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo.
How dare these pathetic wastrels desecrate such an important British historic monument? But who’s going to stop them?
The Just Stop Oil website boasts they’re going to keep doing this stuff, and their stunts will doubtless get ever bolder and more disruptive.
I don’t believe they’ve attracted a single convert to their cause because all we see is a bunch of self-promoting morons seeking cheap headlines by deliberately annoying the rest of us.
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And they’re doing it with such impunity because they know the punishment will never fit their crimes.
It’s time the courts took a different side – and Just Stopped Oil Protesters.
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